Unwelcome at one table, she found Jesus at another

By Bryon Scharenberg with Ashley Tripp   |  4 June 2014
Unwelcome at one table, she found Jesus at another (photo)
Photo by CaptSpaulding/Flickr


Despite being surrounded by 8 empty chairs, a woman had told Crystal she wasn’t welcome to sit there. So Scott Parmely and I offered her our table at Highline Community College’s student union building. We exchanged names, but carried on with our respective conversations and didn’t pay much attention to one another.

I could sense that Crystal kept looking in our direction as we continued our conversation with a Christian student about the Holy Spirit. After 15 minutes, she finally turned to me and asked what we were discussing. We started talking, and I asked her about her spiritual background. I discovered she had tried pursuing Christianity, but eventually stopped trying out of frustration and feelings of guilt due to being unable to maintain a perfect track record.

As our conversation progressed into a discussion of the gospel and Jesus’ costly gift of grace, she struggled to understand.

“But I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make myself good enough if I trust in Jesus,” Crystal said.

“That’s just it,” I responded, “You can’t, but he accepts you as a result of his perfect life given on your behalf.” It was so beautiful to watch things ‘click’ in her mind and heart a moment later, as she realized she had been trying all along to do things on her own.
But I could still see the pain in her eyes.

“It kind of hurts knowing that all along I thought I was trusting God, but I was really just trusting in myself,” Crystal says.

Our conversation wrapped up with Crystal putting her trust in Jesus and thanking God that she had been redirected to our table to meet us after being rejected by the first person she asked.

“It’s really weird, but this whole time I feel like I was supposed to stay here and talk to you,” Crystal says.